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Researchers from Spain have created a ‘smart’ car belt which continuously monitors the driver’s heart and breath rate and produces sound alerts when it “understands” that the driver is going to fall asleep at the wheel. The system called “HARKEN” can save lives if the driver is tired.

HARKEN is based on “smart” fabrics with incorporated electronic sensors, which are placed both in the belt and in the driver’s seat. These materials are made of fibers and filaments with electrical properties and are mixed with the ordinary materials that are used for belts and seat covers. The“smart” system adds to the long list of systems and technologies which are being developed every day and are aimed to turn cars into advanced ‘living’ organisms.

EMOTIONAL CAR


Toyota wants to revolutionize the vehicle-driver relationship creating a futuristic car that would emotionally connect with its owner.

The FV2, as Toyota calls its new vehicle, is equipped with advanced driver monitoring systems such as cameras, voice recognition technology, and related software analysis. With these “weapons” the vehicle is able to distinguish the mental state of the driver. But it doesn’t stop there as you’ll see from the video below:



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up-closeee

According to the executives of Toyota, the FV2 integrates revolutionary augmented reality technology, with which the driver can even change the color of the vehicle depending on their mood. 

CONTROLLING YOUR CAR WITH GESTURES 


Many companies are developing technologies that will allow drivers to activate certain vehicle functions with simple nods and gestures. Ford and Google are developing technology that, as claimed by the executives, allows the driver to open the windows, turn on the air conditioning and other various systems of the car with a simple gesture. For example, the driver can open or close a window with the thumb pointing up or down. 


According to the executives of Toyota, the FV2 integrates revolutionary augmented reality technology, with which the driver can even change the color of the vehicle depending on their mood. 


CONTROLLING YOUR CAR WITH GESTURES 


Many companies are developing technologies that will allow drivers to activate certain vehicle functions with simple nods and gestures. Ford and Google are developing technology that, as claimed by the executives, allows the driver to open the windows, turn on the air conditioning and other various systems of the car with a simple gesture. For example, the driver can open or close a window with the thumb pointing up or down.





The technology is based on using 3D cameras and voice recognition systems. The cameras will monitor the movement of the driver and transmit commands to the central control system of the vehicle, which will perform them. 

BRAKING WITH YOUR MIND 

Researchers in Germany found that it is possible for a car driver to stop the vehicle motion without pressing the brakes but only by thinking about doing so! Experiments have shown that in this way the braking is faster, which increases the margin as not to cause an accident



Researchers at the Institute of Technology of Berlin put some volunteers in driving simulators, placed electrodes on their head and used the method of electroencephalography (EEG) to analyze their brain activity. 

Volunteers had to keep a distance of 20 meters from the vehicle in front. The simulator was programmed in such a way that the driver of the vehicle in front suddenly pressed the brakes. 

The system detected the volunteer’s intention to brake, and it was found that the gap between thinking and action was 130 milliseconds. This means that if a car is moving at a speed of 100 km/h and the braking is done with the thought, the vehicle will stop about 4 meters behind the point where it would stop if the driver pressed the brakes in the usual way. 

Thus, if a practical way to connect the braking mechanism to the brain function of the driver is implemented, road accidents would be reduced significantly.   

THOUGHTS 

While many of these new advances in car-tech are extremely exciting, there is also some downside to all of it. With all the recent news coming out about NSA spying, control freak corporations, and the increasing concern over ones personal privacy and liberties slipping away, one cannot help but ask who would be monitoring these systems? And when (or if) we are going to ditch the fossil fuels and incorporate greener, new energy technology into the vehicles of the future.. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this below.

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NASA Tests A Hybrid Plane That Works Like A Toyota Prius


Environmentally Responsible Aviation

Hybrid Plane 2














Recently there has been a shift in paradigm and now science is doing its best to go green. We have come to realize how our inventions have affected the nature and are doing our best to undo those harmful effects and to be more and more environment friendly. One such project was ERO robot that recycles concrete and Project Zero Electric Plane. This was the reason behind NASA’s project known as Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA). The ERA’s goals were to reduce aircraft emissions, noise and fuel consumption. This is what inspired the engineering students from the University of Virginia into focusing their time and energy into the simulation of an environment friendly plane. The result of this work is a simulation that employs a hybrid electric plane which is capable of flight with 50 passengers aboard. The team was led by aerospace engineering students; Sohail Ahmad and Kelly Thomas and these undergraduates used Flight Optimization System (FLOPS) to evaluate a number of designs which were based on propulsions systems and airplanes which are already in use. The whole study was carried out to find out if a hybrid – internal combustion engine and electric motor – was feasible for being a passenger aircraft.
Hybrid Plane 3The team decided,  to make use of the batteries while takeoff and landing since they take place in congested areas and the internal combustion engine (ICE) would be in charge during the rest of the flight. The ICE would be charging the batteries for the landing part too. The test plane was chosen to be ATR 42-600 which is a twin turbo propeller commercial aircraft that can carry 48 persons. The team wanted to see if converting this model would result in a feasible hybrid solution to the problem. Two methodologies were employed; series and parallel. In a series system; ICE works to charge the batteries and powers an electric generator which in turn runs the motor. However, for the parallel system; the propeller is capable of being powered by either the ICE and/or electric motor. Their final conclusion was that the parallel system was more efficient for their design and project.
The batteries are a crucial part of this system and they had to consider a number of factors including the power to weight ratio and life of battery. The modeling they did in FLOPS gave them specifics for the battery they needed. Accordingly they needed energy enough to provide them with a thrust of more than 6,000 lbs at a speed of 368 km/hr. This came down to be 1500 kW per engine. Their final choice of battery was a Lithium polymer battery which ended in a total weight of batteries equaling less than 13,000 lbs.
Hybrid PlaneThe final conclusion from the team tells us that in the coming years using this modification approach for an aircraft designed to work ICE  would be much more fuel efficient  for distances of up to 300 miles and holds a promise for the environment. However, retrofitting the current technology won’t prove to be very fruitful.  But they are confident that using the current technology to design an aircraft specifically for the hybrid propulsion system would do the trick. Research is in progress and we wish them good luck. This sure is a work of wonderful engineering.

Another Look at the Homemade Batman Batpod Made by a Fan




























Though it's not exactly a 1:1 replica, this homemade Batman Batpod does resemble something The Dark Knight would ride if Bruce Wayne was a DIY project addict. This vehicle is powered by a Suzuki motorcycle engine, which has been thoroughly blacked out with spray paint. Continue reading for a video and more information.

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